Local-level Implementation and Spending on RttT

Overview | Evaluation Reports

The three-part evaluation of LEA-level use of Race to the Top (RttT) funding will a) determine the manner of distribution and uses of RttT-provided and locally-sourced dollars for RttT-related activities, b) estimate associations between expenditures and major anticipated RttT outcomes (e.g., student growth, changes in educator characteristics, etc.), and c) track and assess the development of the locally-funded Cloud Computing Initiative (CCI). The evaluation will combine education finance analysis techniques alongside qualitative explorations of local-level decision-making related to expenditure of RttT dollars. Ultimately, the evaluation is designed to inform end-of-grant decisions about continuation of RttT-related statewide and local-level funding efforts.

RttT Initiative Context

Policy Objective(s)/Purpose(s) of the Initiative

  • Encourage investment in innovations associated with the four RttT assurances (adoption of internationally-benchmarked standards and assessments, construction of data systems that measure student success, increase in teacher and leader effectiveness and equitable distribution, and turn-around of the lowest-performing schools).
  • Develop and deploy a statewide cloud computing infrastructure, to which a portion of currently locally-hosted and maintained technology services will be migrated.

Evaluation Reports | Overview

Report Target Date
1. Local Education Agency Race to the Top Expenditures: An Initial Analysis

Total RttT funds allocated to LEAs averages to $36 per pupil per year, though the range across LEAs is broad ($6-$218). Based on analyses of local Detailed Scopes of Work, LEAs plan to use the largest proportion of their RttT funds (49%) for technology, followed by professional development (21%) and strategic staffing (15%). In terms of planned activities, LEAs plan to prioritize RttT funds for professional development (43%) followed by technology (24%) and strategic staffing (20%).

Available; posted September 2012
2. Local Education Agency Race to the Top Expenditures: An Analysis of Fund Use and Expenditure Patterns

Between 2010-11 and 2011-12, LEAs expended a majority of their funds at the central office level; school-level expenditures accounted for $21,266,835 (29.6%) of all RttT local expenditures. Expenditure patterns in lower-performing LEAs are similar to those of higher-performing LEAs. Statewide, the top local expenditures of RttT funds were for classroom instruction (56.5%), instructional support (22.9%), school leadership (8.1%), and professional development (7.4%). The top four purposes for which the expenditures were used were: technology (44.9%), contracted services (13.6%), bonus/supplement/ extra-duty pay (12.3%), and instructional personnel (10.1%). Thirty-seven LEAs (33%) and 4 charters (36%) are on track to meet spending goals by the end of RttT; 28 LEAs (25%) and 1 charter (9%) have spent their RttT allocation at a faster pace than they projected; and 47 LEAs (42%) and 6 charters (55%) have spent at a slower pace than they projected.

Available; posted June 2013
3. Local Education Agency Race to the Top Expenditures: Final Analysis of Expenditure Patterns and Related Outcomes

From 2010-11 to 2013-14, 97% of total traditional district RttT expenditures fell into five categories: Classroom Instruction (55%), Support for Instruction (26%), Professional Development (9%), LEA Administration (5%), and School Leadership (2%). Over the same period, 98% of total charter school RttT expenditures fell into five categories: Classroom Instruction (70%), Professional Development (17%), Support for Students (5%), School Leadership (4%), and Special Instruction (2%). 82% of traditional district RttT expenditures fell into four key goods and services subcategories: Technology (42%), Instructional Personnel (15%), Bonus/Supplement/Extra Duty Pay (13%), and Contracted Services (12%). The two largest expenditure categories for charter schools were Instructional Personnel and Contracted Services (31% each). Three RttT objectives accounted for 83% of LEAs’ total RttT expenditures during this time: Data Systems to Support Infrastructure (48%), Great Teachers and Leaders (23%), and Standards and Assessment (13%). An analysis of student outcomes through 2014 suggests that increased per-pupil spending of RttT funds on Data Systems to Support Infrastructure may be associated with small decreases in End-of-Course (EOC) performance composites, while increased per-pupil spending on Turning Around the Lowest-Achieving Schools is associated with small increases in EOC performance composites; however, these analyses do not imply causality. The analyses also suggest that LEAs that spent more RttT funding earlier and/or that focused on a smaller number of sub-objectives saw greater increases in their graduation rates than did their peers. The graduation rate also appeared to increase more in LEAs where more funding was spent on activities related to the State Success Factors and Great Teachers and Leaders objectives. Cost savings related to a statewide initiative funded by local RttT funds—the Education Cloud—could not be confirmed using current expenditure data.

Available; posted October 2015



For information about our partnerships with North Carolina schools for our Race to the Top evaluation work.

SERVE Center | Carolina Institute for Public Policy | Friday Institute for Educational Innovation